Monthly Archives: September 2023

The Best Ways to Improve Your Home and Your Familys Lifestyle

Living in a beautiful and functional home can go a long way towards giving your family’s lifestyle a serious boost. This is the reason why one of your biggest priorities should be keeping your home in great shape so that you can give your family the best. Some solutions to this can be quite intensive, calling for a lot of time and money to work on. Others can be fast and easy to do, improving your haven more than you may give them credit to be able to do. A mix of these is necessary for balance, and so here are some of the best ways to improve your home so that it stays in the best shape, offering your family an amazing time when all is said and done.

Renovating the Bathroom

It should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to improve your home is by doing bathroom renovations. These can help make the bathrooms more appealing, more functional, more spacious, and even more accessible, all depending on the specific renovations that you choose to work on. Remember that it could get quite expensive to get everything done at once, but this may be a more effective way to get the best outcome. That said take time to think about the most pressing needs that you have with the space. Getting these out of the way first can make a massive difference, so don’t be under pressure to do everything at once.

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to achieve, look for ideas online so that you can share these with your contractor. Try to keep things as practical as possible, something that an experienced contractor could help you to do. Next, work on a budget so that you can afford to see the project to the end without a hitch. Your family is bound to enjoy the amazing new space, and this is sure to make all your efforts worth it.

Adding a New Space to the Home

Another one of the best ways to improve your home is to construct an additional space. This could take the form of an extension or an entirely new construction depending on what you want. For this, local custom home building services should be in a position to help you figure out details such as the structural integrity of the expansion and the best way to maximize functionality. Additional spaces or larger areas mean that your home has more livable space, and this is a sure way to boost the value of your house.

Some examples of expansions you could make include making the garage larger, expanding the lounge or entertainment area, or even increasing the size of a bedroom. New constructions are things like storage barns or gazebos and such. All of these can make your home more useful and valuable, but you have to choose those that will offer you the best returns for your investment. This means that you ought to work on projects that you’ll actually have a practical use for, otherwise you’ll have simply wasted your money.

Finishing an Unfinished Space in Your Home

If you have any unfinished spaces in your home, finishing them is going to make your home more useful by increasing the livable space in it. Unlike an expansion or addition, this project calls for less structural work to be done because it’s simply working on the finished. This space could be the basement, garage, a deck or patio, or even a guest bedroom. Whichever one it is, find a home renovation company that can deliver quality output and therefore make your home a pleasure to be in.

This is another one of the best ways to improve your home because it will make the entire home usable. From hosting guests to living with family or even renting out the additional space, there are many ways in which you can put the new finished space to good use. To make sure that this project proves to be worth your while, think about the use that you want to put it to so that you can get the project done the right way and proceed to making it functional.

Dealing with Water Damage

A home restoration contractor can help you remedy any water damage that your home might have suffered over time. This is yet another one of the best ways to improve your home because if unchecked, water damage can wreak havoc on your home’s structure and appeal. The fact that mold also thrives in humid areas means that you might expose your family to the complications that come with having mold spores moving freely throughout the house.

That said, if you suspect leaks or water damage in any part of your home, make sure to call a professional who can help you repair this damage. They should be familiar with the various causes of water damage as well as the best solutions. If they are, they can offer you proper value for your money when you hire them. This is because they’re going to inspect the home, figure out what the problem is, fix it permanently, and repair any surface damage, leaving the area looking as good as new.

Repairing or Replacing the Roof

You can’t ignore the fact that your home’s roof is one of the most important elements to keep in good shape all year long. That said, you need to work towards repairing it when necessary and also maintaining it so that it doesn’t end up damaged and in need of a replacement that could have been avoided with some care. To this end, call a local roofer to inspect the roof and clean it of any debris. If they find damages that can be fixed, task them with the repairs so that you can give your roof the chance to keep serving you for a long time to come.

If a roof replacement is imminent, working on it is one of the best ways to improve your home because it can make your home not just more secure, but more valuable and attractive as well. When the roof is in good shape, the internal parts of your home will be better protected, saving you from a number of unnecessary interior expenses. If you need to replace your roof, try to get the most out of it by picking a material that will be durable and that’s affordable in terms of both installation and maintenance. This way, you’ll have made a sound financial decision.

Installing a Fence

If you don’t have a fence around your home, installing one is yet another one of the best ways to improve your home. That’s because a professionally-installed home will improve the safety of your home. It will be hard for people to simply get into your yard and walk up to your home when they have to bypass a fence. This will also make your home safer for your pets or children, and you can let them play as they like outdoors, making the most of the outdoors in good weather.

A fence installation using the right material will protect your home from direct sunlight and high-speed winds, both elements that could impact your indoor temperatures and force you to rely more on your HVAC. As a result, you could lower your energy bills thanks to having the right fence. Finally, you’ll improve your home’s privacy when you install a fence that makes it impossible for people on the street to see directly to your home. You can enjoy all of these benefits by installing an affordable fence around your home.

Getting a New Garage Door

If you’ve had the same garage door for a long time, it may be a good idea for you to install a new one. Talk to your local garage door company to find out if there are any specific manufacturers they could recommend you to get a garage door from. The right garage door will do a lot more than simply improve your home’s curb appeal. For starters, it can help you make your home more secure if it has a good locking system. It will also improve efficiency as it’s certain to operate as it should at the mere touch of a button.

Additionally, the right garage door will help you insulate your home against air leaks a lot better. This will have the effect of lowering your energy bills because you won’t have to put a lot of effort into keeping your home within a comfortable temperature range. These are all reasons why upgrading your home’s garage door is one of the best ways to improve your home. Since this can also be an expensive home upgrade, make sure to shop around widely and pick the best garage door that’s going to offer you all the benefits that you need.

Upgrading Your Front Door

Getting a front door upgrade done can help you in many of the ways that upgrading the garage door can. This makes it another one of the best ways to improve your home. Shop for a front door that can upgrade your home’s curb appeal without compromising on security. By doing this, you’ll make your home look more modern and appealing.

You’re sure to be happier than ever when you come back home at the end of a long, taxing day because you’ll be welcomed by a gorgeous door. To get the most out of this upgrade, you should consider doing something else like cleaning and painting the exterior of your home. Pairing this with something like a sliding glass door installation can give your home an impressive new look, so think about adding it to your list of tasks to work on.

Upgrading Your Windows

A window upgrade, while a bit costly, is among the best ways to improve your home. This is because it can help you insulate your home better, especially if you get double-pane windows to replace your single-pane, drafty ones. In this case, you should look for the right frames and other window products and accessories to pair the new windows with. When you do this, you have a great chance of keeping your home comfortable in harsh weather without cranking your HVAC to its highest setting and keeping it there all through.

Talk to local window installers in your area and find out what they recommend. They can give you great advise because they know details such as the climate and environmental requirements of the area your home is in. As such, they’ll tell you which products you should avoid and those to consider getting so that you’ll have made a sound investment.

Servicing or Replacing Your HVAC

The final item on this list of the best ways to improve your home is to service your HVAC. Call a professional to take a look at the unit and tell you if there’s anything that needs extra attention. If there are broken parts that could be repaired, this should be done alongside working on regular services like replacing dirty filters. As a result of doing this, you can get much better service and air quality from your HVAC. This item has to be on the list of the best ways to improve your home because of its massive impact on the overall comfort of your family.

Note that if your unit has reached the end of its lifespan and seems to be calling for HVAC repair more often, it’s best to simply replace it. In this case, you have the chance of getting a modern unit that will run efficiently, saving you energy and keeping the interior of your home a safe and comfortable temperature without using up too much energy. You can pair this purchase with a smart thermostat and enjoy the full value of modern HVAC. The ability to control your home’s temperature while you’re out of the house is an amazing touch that the while family will be happy with.

Think about working on these home improvements to instantly improve the value and condition of your home. As a result, you can enjoy a more peaceful time since your home will be in an amazing state, with minimal chances of anything going wrong. To get the best outcomes in all the projects that you work on, remember to always hire professionals with a proven history of success and adequate experience to do a great job.

Family Living Expenses to Include in Your Budget

According to Forbes, 65% of Americans (77% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats) conclude that inflation is a major problem. As a result, most of them long for the good old days when a single earner could comfortably take care of a family in middle-class suburban neighborhoods. But it’s not all gloom and doom; understanding your expenses will allow you to budget better. This article has made things easy by breaking your family living expenses into three categories, including fixed and variable monthly expenses and saving and sinking funds expenses. Keep reading to understand why you should include these expenses in your budget.


1. Fixed Monthly Expenses


Generally, fixed monthly expenses are the bills that don’t change. You know exactly how much you must pay for specific monthly bills. Budgeting for expected bills is straightforward, for they never fluctuate.


Rent, Homeowners/Renters Insurance & HOA Dues

The percentage of your monthly income that you must use to pay for rent depends on many factors. However, according to CNN, about 30% of your monthly payment should cater to your housing needs. It would be best if you made it a golden rule to never spend above 30% of your earnings on rent. The lesser the figure, the better to reach a healthy balance of comfort and affordability.


If you have a mortgage, you must pay homeowners/renters insurance. Typically, the figure will get lumped up in your mortgage dues. When renting, you will have this as an agreed monthly fee.


Some neighborhoods need you to pay a homeowners association stipend, typically every month. However, sometimes, the payments must be honored annually. In such a situation, including the figure in your sinking fund category will be prudent.




Insurances are part of your essential family living expenses that protect you and your family from the covered risks. As a result, you must include your monthly insurance payments in your budget.


Most times, you’re required to pay for insurance personally. However, some are paid by your employer and deducted directly from your payslip. Failure to include insurance in your family expenses budget list puts you at the risk of skipping an insurance premium payment, leading to serious repercussions. Examples of common insurances are life, health, long-term disability, short-term disability, and supplemental (like Afflac).


Did you know your contract is null and void if you have unpaid premiums? In such a case, your insurance isn’t mandated to rewrite your policy. As a result, you’ll have no coverage, and the lapse forces you to have a higher rate and hence be labeled as ‘high risk.’


Auto insurance coverage premium makes the list of your must-pay budget items. Typically, the premiums are payable monthly or twice a year. If you pay monthly, depending on your insurance company, you may be eligible for a discount. However, if your premiums are payable twice yearly, consider adding the expense to your sinking fund list to avoid defaulting. If you skip premium payments, your insurance company won’t be liable to pay for your auto repair in case of an accident.


Cable, Internet, Phone Bills & Subscription Payments

To keep your family comfortable, you must budget for utility bills and subscription services such as internet or cable television. Some bills, like phone bills, are necessary for any family setup to ease communication. As mentioned, inflation has pushed the prices of goods and services high. Since some expenses are necessary to keep your family comfortable, you must find ways to keep them low. For instance, if you have a cable bill, consider ways to downsize it. For instance, you can save significantly by switching to streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu.


Did you know your internet can save or make you money? In this case, your internet bill becomes your investment. According to Forbes, by 2025, about 32.6 million Americans will be working remotely – that’s huge! For this reason, the internet is a necessity in your home. Also, streaming services instead of cable will help keep money in your pocket.


Although most people forget to budget for subscription services, they take a big chunk of your budget. Double-check your bank statements for subscriptions. You may be surprised how expenses such as gym subscriptions, pet boxes, beauty boxes, razors, and kids boxes add up to a huge bill.


2. Variable Monthly Expenses


When budgeting for variable monthly expenses, you must be extra careful as figures change often. For example, water and electricity bill figures change depending on monthly usage. If not managed properly, you might be underbudgeting for bills that may have increased significantly.


Groceries and Clothing

According to the US Department of Agriculture, in 2022 alone, American consumers spent 11.3% of their disposable personal earnings on food. The percentage comprises 5.62% of food at home and 5.64% away from home. The statistics indicate that food takes a significant portion of your earnings. For this reason, when considering the family living expenses to put in your budget, always mark food as a heavy candidate.


As a rule of thumb, groceries must not exceed 10- 11% of your earnings. However, you must consider your family size, preferences, and diet restrictions. If your spending culture on food needs control, one of the easiest measures is to create a daily meal plan and grocery list. When at the store, stick to your list and avoid any budget-breaking surprises.


Typically, clothing is an important monthly expense. However, according to the Washington Post, your clothes purchase spending shouldn’t exceed 8% of your income to keep your expenditure manageable. Remember that clothing is a basic need. Therefore, with a pressing need, breaking your budget walls and digging your pockets a little deeper isn’t a transgression. Your family always comes first.


Utility Bills


According to Forbes, Americans spend about $429.33 monthly on utilities. That’s nearly $5,151.96 annually, translating to about 10% of Americans income. While working on a tight budget, proper budgeting equals saving money, and in an economy suffering the wrath of inflation, any penny saved is a huge gain. For this reason, keeping your utilities below 10% of your income is a bonus.


To reduce the budget on your electricity bills, aim to cut energy consumption. Makes sense? To do this, you must start using energy-efficient light bulbs in your home. Also, encourage your family to turn off lights and electricity appliances when not in use. Old-model appliances like HVAC tend to be less efficient and consume more energy. You must go for a new HVAC installation to save energy.


According to the Department of Energy, water heating boasts 18% of your home’s energy usage. To reduce this consumption, use an energy-efficient water heater. Your budget for utilities will decrease drastically.


Did you know that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, household water leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted annually? That’s your money going down the drain! To save it, ensure your water plumbing is in good condition.


Personal Spending, Personal Care, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation

Budgeting the right amount to cater to family entertainment is confusing. However, according to CNBC, experts suggest the figure must be 10% of your monthly net income or after what’s left after taxes and other deductions. So that figure should cater for entertainment bills such as hanging out in the movies or having a good time in restaurants or bars.


Although not many consider this a direct family living expense to capture in your budget, the under 10% figure must also cater to your personal and spouse’s care expenses. The costs that fall under this category include the occasional massage, a visit to a cosmetic dentist, a road trip, or a boutique fitness class. Personal care is necessary to cater to your physical and mental well-being. For this reason, never skip it while creating a family living expense budget.


As a parent, by now, you must have discovered just how kids’ sports and recreating activities are a pricey affair. The equipment cost can stretch your budget from baseball bats, skates, golf clubs, and basketball shoes to high-end uniforms. Even so, consider buying used equipment, passing down the gear, asking for discounts, or carpooling with parents to save a few bucks.


Savings & Sinking Funds Expenses


Do you have a large purchase you’re saving for? Or perhaps you’re saving for a vacation in Phuket, Thailand. Your reasons for saving are typically known as savings and sinking funds. Sinking funds helps you save money for significant purchases to be made in the future. Breaking down your expected cost into manageable monthly savings is a smart way to budget for significant family living expenses expected in the future.


Savings, Retirement, College Funds


Saving is an essential element that you must include in your family living expenses budgetary items. It’s more than a balancing figure allowing you to set money aside outside the emergency fund. It helps avoid unnecessary debt and unforeseen appointments with a bankruptcy agency.


Many people don’t plan for their future; they live for the present. Their mantra is you only live once. However, things won’t be rosy if old age catches up with you without a retirement plan. Remember, you won’t have the energy and opportunity to work effectively. For this reason, you should prioritize savings for a rainy day and avoid eking out for a living from menial work when old.


There are a couple of savings formulas to get you started with savings. For instance, you may adopt the 50 30 20 savings rule. This rule suggests that when budgeting, 50% of your income caters to family needs, 30% for wants, and 20% must be towards a savings plan.


According to Forbes, experts suggest saving at least 15% of your pre-tax income for retirement. However, if you do it for the first time and the plan seems to overstretch your budget, you may try increasing your savings by 1% annually. It would be best to do this until you reach your target savings plan of 15%.


When saving for your kids’ college, you may get overwhelmed with many options for consideration. For this reason, consider talking to a financial advisor expert for the best recommendation, depending on your financial status. You can also start by going for a 529 plan.


Emergency Funds and Legal fees


It’s astonishing that according to CNN, only a handful of Americans (39%) can afford $1,000 in emergency expenses! With the rising costs of goods and services, $1,000 might not cover all your expenses in an emergency such as a job loss. For this reason, if you can save more in your emergency fund, please do. However, don’t let the figure be the reason to forego essential family living budgetary allocations.


You never know when you’ll need legal representation in court. As a result, how about setting aside a budget for unforeseen legal battles in court? Legal expenses can be emergencies. You may be involved in an accident and need an accident attorney to help you with the case. However, you may be in trouble if you have a zero budget for such legal expenses.


Home Repair & Maintenance Sinking Funds


Are you in need of residential roofing services? Or perhaps you’re wondering if you can afford a bathroom remodeling contractor. If you have such home repairs or remodeling-related worries, how about opting for home repair & maintenance sinking funds?


Home repairs and maintenance can be very costly. As a result, it will be prudent to save in advance for projected home remodeling projects, such as asphalt driveway paving or custom doors installation, little by little. Doing so allows you not to overstretch your budget, and you can afford expensive home remodeling projects over time.


Listing family living budgetary expenses may be a daunting task. However, it’s vital to help you take control of your finances and avoid bankruptcy at all times. A budget isn’t restrictive, but it also has to be realistic. For this reason, when creating a budget, you must be keen not to miss key details. A simple mistake can ruin your whole budgeting process. If you have no idea how to start budgeting, this article is a start.